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Chlamydia and Mycoplasma Group


The Chlamydia and Mycoplasma Group is part of the Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis (IMP) at Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health in Germany. Tasks of the IMP, which is located in Jena, include the characterization of interactions between bacterial agents causing animal diseases and zoonoses and their hosts on the molecular level, the evaluation of the relevance of these findings for the organism as a whole, and the development of procedures for prophylaxis and control of infections of farm animals based on these results. Our group hosts the OIE and German National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Chlamydiosis and the German NRL for Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP).

National Reference Laboratory for CBPP

The main tasks of the National Reference Laboratory for CBPP include:

  • Official confirmation/rejection of CBPP suspicious cases and support of examination offices by the investigation of difficult diagnostic cases, especially helping with (i) cultivation of the agent and detection of Mycoplasma mycoides mycoides by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), (ii) Differentiation of Mycoplasma isolates regarding the valid taxonomy by PCR and indirect immunfluorescence technique, (iii) Investigation of doubtful sera by using the complement fixation test (CFT), and (iv) Characterization of suspicious sera by immunoblotting
  • Organization of national ring trials and provision of reference material
  • Improvement of already used methods as well as the development of new diagnostic techniques and their intern validation
  • Pursuit of the current epidemic situation in the world

Mycoplasma research

The focal points of our mycoplasma research are the following:

  • Molecular pathogenesis of mycoplasma infections, particularly in ruminants – identification of pathogenicity and virulence factors
  • Development and validation of new methods for direct detection of mycoplasmas
  • Improvement of serological diagnostics for mycoplasmas
  • Epidemiological studies using NGS data of mycoplasma isolates, recently from M. bovis outbreaks in Germany and some neighbor countries
  • Development of point of care tests for CBPP and CCPP and new vaccines (in cooperation with the International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI, in Kenya)
  • Assistance in the development of control strategies against mycoplasma infections in ruminants for veterinarians and farmers

Further Readings

  1. Heller, M., Gicheru, N., Tjipura-Zaire, G., Muriuki, C., Yu, M., Botelho, A., Naessens, J., Jores, J., Liljander, A.: Development of a Novel Cocktail Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and a Field-Applicable Lateral-Flow Rapid Test for Diagnosis of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia. J Clin Microbiol. 2016 Jun;54(6):1557-65. doi: 10.1128/JCM.03259-15. Epub 2016. (https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.03259-15)
  2. Schnee C, Heller M, Jores J, Tomaso H, Neubauer H. 2011. Assessment of a novel multiplex real-time PCR assay for the detection of the CBPP agent Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC through experimental infection in cattle. BMC Vet Res 7:47. (https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-7-47)
  3. Schnee, C.; Schulsse, S.; Hotzel, H.; Ayling, R. D.; Nicholas, R. A.; Schubert, E.; Heller, M.; Ehricht, R. and Sachse, K.: A novel rapid DNA microarray assay enables identification of 37 Mycoplasma species and highlights multiple Mycoplasma infections. PLoS One. 2012; 7(3), e33237. (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033237)
  4. Schubert E, Sachse K, Jores J, Heller M. 2011. Serological testing of cattle experimentally infected with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony using four different tests reveals a variety of seroconversion patterns. BMC Vet Res 7:72. (https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-7-72)

Group leaders

Christiane SCHNEE (Chlamydia)

Martin HELLER (Mycoplasma)

Laboratory staff


Kerstin BARTH






PhD students



Past members







Institute for Molecular Pathogenesis

Naumburger Str. 96a

D-07745 Jena